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					                    Brindabella Women’s Group Child Protection Policy




                          Brindabella Women’s Group

                       CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
                                       May 2009




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                                      Reporting child abuse

 Brindabella Women’s Group (BWG) has a strong commitment to protecting the
 health and wellbeing of children who come into contact with the organisation.

 This Policy is primarily concerned with providing guidance to BWG members.
 Childcare providers engaged by BWG will have a similar Child Protection Policy
 in place.

 The Children and Young People Act 2008 (the Act) has mechanisms for the
 reporting of concerns about child abuse and neglect to Care and Protection
 Services (Office for Children, Youth and Family Support). The Act allows for both
 the voluntary and mandatory reporting of child abuse.

       The Act identifies certain professional groups as mandated reporters and
        requires them to report under Section 356 of the Act.

       Members of Brindabella Women’s Group (who are not identified as
        mandated reporters) and who believe or suspect that a child or young
        person is in need of care and protection may report the circumstances on
        which the belief or suspicion is based as a voluntary reporter (Section 158).

       Members of Brindabella Women’s Group, in their dealings with a pregnant
        woman, suspect or believe that the child who may be born as a result of the
        pregnancy may be in need of care and protection, a prenatal report may be
        made to Care and Protection Services (Section 362).

 The relevant provisions of the Act regarding voluntary, mandatory and pre-natal
 reports are at Appendix A.




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                                      Defining Child Abuse

 Child abuse is the term used to describe different types of maltreatment inflicted
 on a child or young person. It includes non-accidental physical injury, sexual
 abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, including psychological harm and exposure to
 domestic violence of children or young people and requires different and
 specialised responses. See Appendix B. Abuse includes:
          (a) physical abuse; or
               (b) sexual abuse; or
               (c) emotional abuse.
 Neglect is a failure to provide the child or young person with a necessity of life if
 the failure has caused or is causing significant harm to the wellbeing or
 development of the child or young person. Examples of the necessities of life are
 food, shelter, clothing and health care treatment

 The Act defines a child as a person under 12 years of age and a young person
 as a person who is 12 years or older, but not yet an adult.




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                                      Reporters of child abuse

 MANDATED REPORTERS

 Section 356 of the Act makes it mandatory for certain groups of people to report
 to Care and Protection Services. See Appendix C. This obligation arises when
 the person believes on reasonable grounds, during the course of their work, that
 a child or young person has experienced or is experiencing sexual abuse or non-
 accidental physical injury.

 A reasonable belief may be formed by the disclosure of abuse from a child or
 young person, someone else tells you about the abuse (hearsay) or your own
 observations. Hearsay is sufficient to form a reasonable suspicion and a reporter
 does not need to prove that abuse has occurred. The reporter should not
 attempt to interview the child regarding details of the abuse or suspected abuse.

 Mandated reporters are individually responsible for reporting reasonable
 suspicions of abuse. They cannot delegate this authority. However, a
 mandated reporter does not need to report an instance where they reasonably
 believe that another person has made a report about the same child or young
 person and the same abuse or injury and the reasons for both of the
 suspicions are the same.

 A second exception to the requirement to report is where the mandated reporter
 believes on reasonable grounds that:
      the child or young person (the injured person) has experienced or is
        experiencing, non-accidental physical injury caused by another child or young
        person; and
       a person with parental responsibility for the injured person is willing and able to
        protect the injured person from further injury (for example bullying episodes in
        schools).
 If the mandated reporter is unsure whether another person has made a report
 they should make a report to Care and Protection Services.

 Failure to report, under the Act, if the mandated reporter has formed a
 reasonable belief a child or young person has suffered or is suffering non-
 accidental physical injury or sexual abuse attracts criminal sanctions.

 The welfare of the child overrides confidentiality provisions. Individuals who make
 child protection reports to Care and Protection Services are protected from litigation
 under the Children and Young People Act 2008 and do not have to prove their
 suspicions.

 VOLUNTARY REPORTERS

 Voluntary reporting enables members of the community, to make a report to Care
 and Protection Services in respect of children or young people in need of care
 and protection. This includes forms of child abuse including: non-accidental
 injury, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.

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                                           When to report

 Reports must be made as soon as practicable after the suspicion arises.

 For mandated reporters, this is the law.

 Under section 357 of the Act (at Appendix A), if a reporter reasonably believes that
 a report has already been made to Care and Protection about the same child or
 young person; and is about the same abuse or injury; a report does not need to be
 made.


                                            How to report

 Reports are made to Care and Protection Services. To make a report to Care
 and Protection the BWG member will:

        Ring Care and Protection Services and make a report

        Document and file all known information in accordance with the
         organisation’s protocols.

 Concerns and reports regarding the safety of children are discussed with the
 same intake line and same intake worker at Care and Protection Services. The
 intake worker will provide support and advice, and will assess the matter.

                                               Police
                               For urgent and immediate assistance:
                                                000

                 Care and Protection Services Centralised Intake Service

                                      (For mandated reporters only)
                                            1300 556 728
                                                 or
                                            Fax 62050641



                                           General Public line:

                                        (For voluntary reporters)
                                             1300 556 729


 If there are difficulties contacting the Centralised Intake Service or the reporter is
 unhappy with the service they have received, then they should discuss the
 problem with the BWG President.

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          What is needed in a report to Care and Protection
                              Services

 When making a report, the reporter should first telephone the Care and
 Protection Services Centralised Intake Service on 1300556728 (mandated
 reporter) or 1300556729 (voluntary reporter). If calling after hours, an
 answering machine may be reached that will give a mobile number to call. This
 happens if the worker is out in the field. The person making the report should call
 the mobile number and if necessary, leave a message. The worker will ring back
 in urgent situations.

 The person making the report must be prepared to give as much of the following
 information as they can. The provision of this information to Care and Protection
 Services will not be a breach of privacy or professional ethics.
        Name, date of birth and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status of the
         pregnant woman, child/ren or young person(s);
        Home address of the pregnant woman, child/ren or young person(s);
        Current whereabouts of the pregnant woman, child/ren or young person(s);
        Name of parents/guardians/aliases and contact details;
        Name of known siblings;
        Nature of abuse and neglect;
        When the alleged abuse/neglect is said to have occurred;
        Details about when and how the person making the report became aware of
         the information;
        Names of others who may have witnessed the abuse or neglect;
        Details of any disclosure made to the person making the report or others;
        Description of any injuries seen;
        Description of the behaviour of the pregnant woman, child/ren or young
         person(s)
        Attitude of the carers of the child/ren or young person(s) to the
         injury/incident;
        Known supports to the pregnant woman, child, young person and/or family;
        What is known about the family functioning (mental health, presence of
         violence, alcohol and/or drug misuse)?
        What prompted the reporter to call today (if this is not already obvious)?
        Are the parents/caregivers aware that a report is being made?
        Is the child/young person aware that a report is being made?
        Has the reporter given any expectation of action to the child or family?
        What action from Care and Protection Services is the reporter expecting?

If some of this information is unknown, it does not preclude a BWG member from
making a report.
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                                      Information

 Documentation

  Store any file notes taken, on a confidential file as per BWG policy for storage
   of confidential information. Include any information forwarded to Care and
   Protection Services.

  Ensure all records are legible, signed and dated. Names should be printed as
   well.

  Report exactly what was heard and seen.

  Check that documentation includes the following:
        o Initial suspicions and situation leading to these suspicions;
        o the process you followed in seeking advice and in contacting Care
             and Protection Services;
        o the name of the person(s) in Care and Protection Services that the
             person making the report talks to;
        o the information that was provided to Care and Protection Services;
        o all decisions (and their rationale);
        o all advice (both given and received);
        o all face to face, email and telephone discussions.

  The BWG Secretary will store all Confidential files.

 Protected and Sensitive Information Exchange

 Protected and Sensitive Information
 If Care and Protection Services provide a BWG member with information in
 relation to a child or young person, that BWG member becomes an information
 holder under Sec. 843 of the Children and Young People Act 2008. All
 information given to a BWG member or volunteer by Care and Protection
 Services in relation to a child or young person is protected information under
 Sec. 844 of the Children and Young People Act 2008.

 It is an offence if an information holder recklessly divulges protected information.
 There are exceptions to this offence, including the giving of the information under
 the requirements of another law or with the consent of the person to whom the
 information is related. If the information is sensitive information these
 exceptions do not apply.

 Under Sec. 845 of the Children and Young People Act 2008, the following types
 of protected information are considered sensitive information:

              Care and protection report information;
              Care and protection appraisal information, including a child concern
               report and information that identifies the person who made the child
               concern report;

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                Interstate care and protection information;
                Family group conference information; information about anything said or
                 done in a meeting, or for mediation or conflict resolution for a family
                 group conference;
                Contravention report information; including information that allows
                 information in a confidential report to be worked out or that identifies a
                 person in a confidential report;
                Prenatal report information; and
                Information prescribed by the Chief Executive of DHCS.

 An example includes the identity of the reporter, or information that would enable
 the identity of the reporter to be determined.

Information Exchange

 Under the Act, an Information Sharing Entity (defined below and includes BWG
 members) can ask Care and Protection Services for safety and wellbeing
 information (Section 860(2)).

 Information Sharing Entity can also give safety and wellbeing information to Care
 and Protection Services (Section 861).

 Care and Protection Services can ask for safety and wellbeing information about
 children and young people. Information can be about any child or young person,
 their parents or anyone else (Section 862). An Information Sharing Entity must
 respond promptly to this request. If the Information Sharing Entity is advised that
 it is an emergency, they must respond within 24 hours.

 Before an Information Sharing Entity can give information to a worker from Care
 and Protection Services about a client or patient (except for information given
 under section 861) an official request for information on a Section 862 Form must
 be received. Requests made under Section 860(2) and 862 are formal
 documents that are placed in the patients’ file and must be sighted before
 information is given.

 BWG is an Information Sharing Entity as defined in section 859 of the Act and
 means any of the following:
           (a)     a parent of the child or young person;
           (b)     someone else who has parental responsibility for the child or young
                   person;
           (c)     an out-of-home carer for the child or young person;
           (d)     a foster care service;
           (e)     a Minister;
           (f)     an ACT education provider;
           (g)     a police officer or a member of a police service or force of a State;
           (h)     a health facility;
           (i)     any of the following entities that provide services to, or has contact
                   with, the child or young person or his or her family:
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                    (i) an administrative unit;
                   (ii)    a community-based service (eg BWG);
                  (iii)    a territory authority (other than the legal aid commission);
                  (iv)     a territory instrumentality;
                   (v)     an entity established under a law of a State or the
                           Commonwealth;
                  (vi)     the holder of a position established under a law of a State or the
                           Commonwealth;
                 (vii)     a public employee (other than a judge or magistrate).

 Care Teams
 Care and Protection Services may declare that a group of people and entities
 constitute a Care Team for a particular child or young person. A Care Team will
 be declared for children and young people who are on care orders, and as
 needed for children and young people who have open cases with ongoing
 intervention. A Care Team will not be automatically declared for every child and
 young person who is involved with CPS. Entities will only be included in Care
 Teams if they have an active and ongoing role with the child or young person.

 Members of a Care Team can include, but is not limited to, a health professional;
 a youth support worker, an educational provider and other nominated health
 service providers.

 Once an entity (or individual) has been nominated as a member of the Care
 Team, it will be able to share safety and wellbeing information (protected
 information but not sensitive) with another member of the Care Team. Each
 member of the Care Team may receive different levels of information (protected
 versus sensitive) from Care and Protection Services. This information can be
 shared within members of a Care Team and does not require any formal
 notification. However, Care Team members should document in the child’s / adult
 family member of the child medical files information that has been shared
 regarding the child or young person’s safety and wellbeing.




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                 Informing families of the intention to report

 This is a decision for individual workers to make. It is important to consider
 whether telling a parent or alleged perpetrator about making a report places the
 child or young person at further risk of abuse or neglect. If this is the case, a
 decision will be based on the need to protect the child or young person from
 possibly experiencing further abuse, intimidation or threats.

 On the other hand, the experience of workers has been that the relationship with
 the client is more likely to be repaired if the intention to make a report and the
 reasons for doing so are fully discussed.

 In the case of prenatal reporting it is important to engage and develop a
 relationship with the pregnant woman. Establishing rapport with the pregnant
 woman will increase the chances of her opting to receive voluntary advice or
 treatment.

 Sometimes there are safety issues for the reporter. In these instances, it is not
 advisable for the reporter to divulge her identity. Should a client become
 inadvertently aware of a report being made, the reporter should notify the BWG
 President immediately and follow the specific workplace protocol for managing
 the issue.

 Not all reports will result in Care and Protection Services contacting the family.
 Telling the family prior to phoning may cause them unnecessary distress or may
 undermine the credibility of a health care worker with the family. If the allegations
 are serious, and of a criminal nature, there is also potential to contaminate
 evidence that may be used in a court situation. If in doubt, it is recommended
 that this issue be discussed with Care and Protection Services prior to making a
 report.


                                      Debriefing for staff

Dealing with child abuse can be complex, stressful and traumatic. It can bring up
issues for workers’ professional and personal development. BWG members
should seek debriefing opportunities following their involvement in child protection
matters through the BWG President or other committee members.




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                                      Training for staff

 Organisations are required to make education and training available for their
 staff. Education and training is available through Learning and Community
 Education, Department of Disability Housing and Community Services and will be
 delivered in partnership with ACT Health.

 BWG members who wish to attend training should approach the BWG President
 who will organise their attendance in consultation with the service funding
 agreement manager.



                                      Further Information

 For more information on the responsibilities and processes for reporting child
 abuse and neglect in the ACT refer to Reporting Child abuse: Keeping Children
 and Young People Safe” – A shared community responsibility (2008),
 published by ACT Department of Disability, Housing and Community Service
 (DHCS).

 The booklet can be accessed at:
 http://www.dhcs.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/5660/Web_copy2009_Ke
 eping_Children.pdf




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 Appendix A


354            Voluntary reporting of abuse and neglect
        (1) This section applies if a person believes or suspects that a child or young
            person—
               (a) is being abused; or
               (b) is being neglected; or
               (c) is at risk of abuse or neglect.
        (2) The person may report (a voluntary report) the belief or suspicion, and
            the reasons for the belief or suspicion, to the chief executive.


356            Offence—mandatory reporting of abuse
        (1) A person commits an offence if—
               (a) the person is a mandated reporter; and
               (b) the person is an adult; and
               (c) the person believes on reasonable grounds that a child or young
                   person has experienced, or is experiencing—
                       (i) sexual abuse; or
                      (ii) non-accidental physical injury; and
               (d) the person’s reasons for the belief arise from information obtained by
                   the person during the course of, or because of, the person’s work
                   (whether paid or unpaid); and
               (e) the person does not, as soon as practicable after forming the belief,
                   report (a mandatory report) to the chief executive—
                       (i) the child’s or young person’s name or description; and
                      (ii) the reasons for the person’s belief.
               Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units, imprisonment for 6 months or both.
               Note 1 A person who gives information honestly and without
                      recklessness under this section does not breach professional
                      ethics and is protected from civil liability (see s 874).
               Note 2 Giving false or misleading information to the chief executive is an
                      offence (see Criminal Code, s 338).
        (2) In this section:
               mandated reporter—each of the following people is a mandated
               reporter:
               (a) a doctor;
               (b) a dentist;
               (c) a nurse;
               (d) an enrolled nurse;

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               (e) a midwife;
                     Note       Doctor, dentist, nurse, enrolled nurse and midwife are
                                defined in the Legislation Act, dict, pt 1.
                (f) a teacher at a school;
               (g) a person providing education to a child or young person who is
                   registered, or provisionally registered, for home education under the
                   Education Act 2004;
               (h) a police officer;
                (i) a person employed to counsel children or young people at a school;
                (j) a person caring for a child at a childcare centre;
               (k) a person coordinating or monitoring home-based care for a family
                   day care scheme proprietor;
                (l) a public servant who, in the course of employment as a public
                    servant, works with, or provides services personally to, children and
                    young people or families;
              (m) the public advocate;
               (n) an official visitor;
               (o) a person who, in the course of the person’s employment, has contact
                   with or provides services to children, young people and their families
                   and is prescribed by regulation.
               person caring for a child at a childcare centre includes a childcare
               assistant or aide caring for a child at the childcare centre if the assistant
               or aide is in paid employment at the childcare centre, but does not
               include anyone caring for a child as an unpaid volunteer.
               teacher, at a school, includes a teacher’s assistant or aide if the assistant
               or aide is in paid employment at the school.

357            Mandatory reporting—exceptions
        (1) Section 356 does not apply to a person if the person believes on
            reasonable grounds that—
               (a) someone else has made a report to the chief executive about the
                   same child or young person in relation to the same abuse or neglect;
                   and
               (b) the other person has reported the same reasons for their belief as
                   the person has for their belief.
        (2) Section 356 (1) (c) (ii) does not apply to a person if the person believes
            on reasonable grounds that—
               (a) the child or young person (the injured person) has experienced, or
                   is experiencing, non-accidental physical injury caused by another
                   child or young person; and
               (b) a person with parental responsibility for the injured person is willing
                   and able to protect the injured person from further injury.


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362            Prenatal reporting—anticipated abuse and neglect
        (1) This section applies if, during a pregnancy, a person believes or suspects
            that a child who may be born as a result of the pregnancy may be in need
            of care and protection.
        (2) The person may report (a prenatal report) the belief or suspicion, and
            the reasons for the belief or suspicion, to the chief executive.
        (3) The chief executive may, with the consent of the pregnant woman, take
            the action the chief executive considers appropriate in relation to the
            report.
        (4) Without limiting subsection (3), the chief executive may do any of the
            following with the consent of the pregnant woman:
               (a) provide a voluntary assessment of whether the child is likely to be in
                   need of care and protection after the child is born;
               (b) provide or arrange voluntary support services for the pregnant
                   woman, and any family member who may be involved in caring for
                   the child;
               (c) refer the matters raised in the report to a government or community-
                   based service for advice and support services for the pregnant
                   woman and any family member who may be involved in caring for
                   the child.
        (5) The chief executive may also, without the consent of the pregnant
            woman, give advice to the person who made the report about appropriate
            assistance for the pregnant woman that the person may consider.
        (6) The chief executive may also ask the pregnant woman to consent to the
            chief executive doing either or both of the following:
               (a) giving prenatal information to a prenatal information sharing entity;
               (b) asking a prenatal information sharing entity for prenatal information.
        (7) If the pregnant woman does not consent under subsection (6), the chief
            executive may give the prenatal information to the prenatal information
            sharing entity, or ask the prenatal information sharing entity for the
            prenatal information, only if the chief executive suspects on reasonable
            grounds that the child may be in need of care and protection after the
            child is born.
        (8) The chief executive is not required to act in relation to a report under this
            section.
        (9) The chief executive must ensure, as far as practicable, that any action
            taken because of this section is appropriate and consistent with the
            pregnant woman’s human rights.
      (10) In this section:
               prenatal information means information that is relevant to the safety,
               wellbeing and development of a child after the child is born.




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    Appendix B

TYPES OF ABUSE

Non-accidental physical injury (physical abuse)

Physical abuse is an act resulting in an injury to a child or young person by a
parent, caregiver or another person who has responsibility for the child or young
person. Injury can be caused by a single episode or repeated episodes of physical
abuse. The severity of injury can range from minor bruising to death.
Physical punishment of a child or young person is a crime when it falls outside the
bounds of ‘reasonable chastisement’.
Non-accidental physical injury can also include self-harm by a child.

Indicators for non-accidental physical injury (physical abuse)


Indicators in children and young people        Indicators in parents and care givers

    Facial, head and neck bruising               Direct admissions by parents and
    Other bruising and marks which show           caregivers that they have injured the
     the shape of the object used (e.g. a          child or young person
     hand print, belt buckle)                     Direct admissions by parents or
    Multiple bruises or injuries                  caregivers that they fear they may
                                                   injure the child or young person
    Lacerations and welts
                                                  Family history of violence, including
    Bite marks and scratches where the            previous harm to children and young
     bruise may show a print of teeth              people
    Dislocations                                 Repeated presentations of the child or
    Fractures of bones, especially in             young person to health or other
     children under three years old                services with injuries, swallowing of
                                                   non-food substances or minor
    Burns and scalds – a burn with a clear        complaints
     outline may be suspicious
                                                  Marked delay between injury and
    A large number of scars of different          presentation for medical assistance
     sizes or ages, or on different parts of
     the body, may suggest abuse                  Story of injury which is inconsistent
                                                   with the physical findings
    Verbal disclosure by the child
                                                  History of injury which is vague or
    Explanation offered by the child or           variable
     young person is not consistent with
     the injury                                   Parent who shows little concern about
                                                   the welfare of their child or the
    Flinching when approached by adults           treatment and care of the injury
    Frozen watchfulness                          Isolating a child from contact with
                                                   school, services etc in order to hide
                                                   injuries or prevent disclosure.




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Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is any sexual act or sexual threat imposed on a child or young
person. This occurs when an adult or someone else who is bigger or older involves
the child or young person in sexual activity by using their power over the child or
young person and by taking advantage of their trust. Children are most likely to be
sexually abused by someone who is known to them, including a family member,
neighbour or friend of the family.
Child sexual abuse is usually a planned process that follows a particular pattern
where a child is identified and targeted. This process is commonly know as
“grooming” where the perpetrator gradually engages the child in sexual activity
using inducements, bribes, rewards or threats. The whole process relies on
secrecy. The offender puts great effort into silencing the child and hindering
potential suspicion and protection by the adults around them (Salmond, L. in
Positive Futures Caring Together 2008)
Child sexual abuse is difficult to detect because of the secrecy that surrounds it.
Children are frequently threatened or coerced into remaining silent and are
frightened of the consequences if they disclose the abuse.
Children who do disclose either directly or indirectly often later deny what they have
said due to fear of the consequences and because of the reactions from family and
others.
How the adult responds to a disclosure of sexual abuse by the child or young
person can be extremely significant for the child or young person’s recovery from
the trauma of abuse.
Sexual abuse of children or young people is a crime.
Child sexual abuse covers a range of sexual behaviours that are considered
harmful to children and young people which may include;
        Any form of sexual touching;
        Any form of sexual suggestion to children, including exposure to
         pornographic material;
        The use of children in the production of pornographic videos or films;
        Exhibitionism and voyeurism; and
        Using the child for pornographic videos or prostitution. .

Sexual abuse often involves a progression in behaviour from fondling to intercourse.
This may occur quickly or over a period of years. Child sexual abuse is difficult to
detect because of the secrecy that surrounds it.

Children are frequently threatened or coerced into remaining silent and are
frightened of the consequences if they disclose the abuse. Adults are often
reluctant to openly discuss sexuality with children, or to interfere in what they see as
private family matters. These factors all contribute to a climate of secrecy that
means that a child will often not disclose sexual abuse directly.




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Indicators for sexual abuse


Indicators in children and young people             Indicators in parents, siblings,
                                                   caregivers, relatives, strangers or
                                                            acquaintances

    Direct or indirect disclosures               Exposing a child or young person to
    Describes sexual acts e.g. ‘he hurts          pornography or using a child or young
     my wee-wee’                                   person for pornographic purposes

    Sexually explicit behaviour, play or         Intentional exposure of child or young
     conversation inappropriate to the child       person to sexual behaviour in others
     or young person’s age                        Previously committed or suspected of
    Inappropriate or excessive                    child sexual assault
     masturbation                                 Denial of adolescent’s pregnancy by
    Self destructive behaviour including          family
     eating disorders, self mutilation and        Inappropriate curtailing or jealousy
     suicide attempts                              regarding age appropriate
    An anxious unwillingness to remove            development of independence from
     clothes e.g. for sporting events              the family

    Persistent running away from home            Coercing the child to engage in sexual
                                                   behaviour with other children
    Sudden and unexplained changes in
     mood or behaviour                            Verbal threats of sexual abuse

    Regression in developmental                  Exploitation or corruption of children
     achievements in younger children
    Unexplained accumulation of money
     and gifts
    Pain, itching or bleeding in genital or
     anal area
    Pregnancy in a young person where
     the identity of the father is not
     disclosed
    Bruising to buttocks, breasts, abdomen
     and thighs
    Sexually transmitted infection
    Difficulty sleeping and nightmares


Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is used to describe chronic and repetitive ill treatment of a child or
young person which is causing significant harm to the child or young person’s
psychological, social, emotional or cognitive development.
Constant yelling, belittling, ignoring and ridiculing are all examples of emotional
abuse.


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Emotional abuse also refers to situations where children are exposed to domestic
violence by seeing or hearing the physical, sexual or psychological abuse between
parents or caregivers; or they are put at risk of exposure to domestic violence that
would cause significant harm to their wellbeing or development.
As with all forms of abuse, children react differently to the same behaviours by the
parent or caregiver, however generally speaking, the more severe and ongoing the
abuse, the more likely the child is to experience a negative impact on his or her
development.
The following may be indicators of emotional abuse. One indicator in isolation may
not imply emotional abuse.
It is particularly important to consider the indicators in parents and caregivers when
identifying emotional abuse as there are many reasons why children are emotionally
troubled. In situations where there is no emotional abuse, parents would usually
show concern about their child and seek help.
Indicators for emotional abuse


Indicators in children and young people          Indicators in parents and caregivers


    Over compliant, withdrawn, passive,         Excessive or unreasonable demands
     tearful                                     Parent or caregiver may have
    Display age-inappropriate behaviours,        unrealistic expectations of the child or
     for instance, overly adult (parenting        young person
     other children) or overly infantile         Persistent hostility and severe verbal
     (thumb sucking, rocking, wetting or          abuse
     soiling)
                                                 Rejection, ridiculing and scapegoating
    Lack expectations and trust in people
                                                 Exposure to domestic violence
    Fearful of parent(s)
                                                 Constant criticism, belittling, teasing
    Disruptive or aggressive behaviour           and withholding of affection and
     towards others                               praise
    Hyper vigilance, particularly in pre-       Belief that a particular child or young
     school children                              person is intrinsically ‘bad’, ‘naughty’
    Exhibit extreme attention seeking or         or ‘evil’
     risk taking behaviour                       Using inappropriate social or physical
    Withdrawn or seen as a ‘loner’ –             isolation as punishment
     difficulty relating to others
    Highly anxious
    Developmental delay




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                    Brindabella Women’s Group Child Protection Policy
Neglect

Neglect means a failure to provide the child or young person with a necessity of life,
if the failure has caused or is causing significant harm to the wellbeing or
development of the child or young person. The necessities of life include basic
things needed for his or her proper growth and psychological, intellectual and
physical development, such as food, clothing, shelter, medical and dental care and
appropriate interaction and supervision.

Emotional neglect is used to describe situations where the parent or caregiver is
unresponsive to the child. This may occur when parents or caregivers,
overwhelmed by struggles in their lives, such as substance use, domestic violence
or mental illness, are emotionally or physically unavailable to their children.

Neglect may be episodic or related to a particular crisis or incident. Or it may be
chronic and persistent characterised by the repeated failure to meet a child’s needs
or to protect the child from harm.

Neglect can have seriously detrimental effects on the child or young person’s social,
psychological, educational or physical development.

Indicators for Neglect


 Indicators in children and young people        Indicators in parents and care givers

 Poor hygiene: matted hair, dirty skin or     Dirty unhygienic environment – house
  strong body odour                             over-run with pets, faeces not cleaned up
 Loss of ‘skin bloom’ and poor hair texture    etc

 Untreated physical or medical problems       Nowhere for the child to sleep

 Frequent illness and low grade infections  Unable or unwilling to provide adequate
                                                food and/or clothing
 Persistent untreated head lice
                                               Leaving the child or young person
 Hungry – scavenging, stealing or              inappropriately without supervision
  hoarding food
                                               Abandoning the child
 Constantly tired and listless
                                               Unable to respond emotionally to the
 Delay in developmental milestones             child or young person
 Low weight for age and/or failure to thrive  Depriving of or withholding physical
  for no medical reason                         contact or stimulation for prolonged
 A flat and superficial way of relating        periods
 Anxiety about being dropped or               Parents overwhelmed with other
  abandoned                                     problems
 Self comforting behaviour, e.g. rocking,     Parents show no concern for child’s
  sucking                                       wellbeing when it would be reasonably
                                                expected
 Inadequate clothing in winter
                                               Family is isolated from relatives, other
                                                adults or social supports
 Frequent lateness to or absence from         Parent greets the child with indifference
  school
                                               Parent/caregiver has extremely chaotic
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              Brindabella Women’s Group Child Protection Policy
 Child or young person states that no     life
  one is home to provide care             Family home is very chaotic and
 Out of doors (unaccompanied by adults)   unkempt
   very late at night
 Longing for adult affection
 Extended stays at school, public places
  and others’ homes

Unborn child, child or young person at risk of abuse or neglect

Staff and volunteers will encounter situations where they believe that on the balance
of probabilities a child or young person is being abused or neglected or is at risk of
being abused or neglected in any of the above forms.

Indicators in parents and care givers

Indicators in parents and care givers
    Domestic violence
    Parental ambivalence towards child/pregnancy
    Indication that parent/s may have been abused as children
    Family suffering financial stress
    Family living in an unstable housing situation
    Indications of social isolation and lack of support
    Mental health problems
    Significant learning difficulty or intellectual disability
    Substance misuse problems
    Failure to engage in adequate prenatal care
    A history of Care and Protection Services involvement in relation to other children
    Previous removal of siblings from parents by Care and Protection Services

If an individual in their dealings with a pregnant woman suspects that an unborn
child, who once born may be in need of care and protection a prenatal report may
be made (Section 362 of the Children and Young People Act 2008).

What is Significant Harm

Exposure to significant harm may include:
  a single serious event causing significant harm to a child or young person;
    (example includes an infant who sustains physical harm as a result of a shaking
    incident) or
  multiple instances of harm that, when viewed individually, may not amount to
    significant harm but the cumulative effect of these instances is significant harm to
    a child or young person (Examples includes a child who is provided with ongoing
    poor physical care, a prolonged pattern of limited stimulation, and/or repeated
    exposure to family violence.




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                    Brindabella Women’s Group Child Protection Policy
 Appendix C

MANDATED REPORTERS:

         a)        a doctor;

         b)        a dentist;

         c)        a nurse;

         d)        an enrolled nurse;

         e)        a midwife;

         f)        a teacher at a school (this includes a teacher’s assistant or aide if the
                   assistant or aide is in paid employment at the school);

         g)        a person providing education to a child or young person who is
                   registered, or provisionally registered for home education under the
                   Education Act 2004;

         h)        a police officer

         i)        a person employed to counsel children or young people at a school;

         j)        a person caring for a child at a childcare centre (this includes a
                   childcare assistant or aide caring for a child at the childcare centre if
                   the assistant or aide is in paid employment at the childcare centre, but
                   does not include anyone caring for a child as an unpaid volunteer);

         k)        a person coordinating or monitoring home-based care for a family day
                   care scheme proprietor;

         l)        a public servant who, in the course of employment as a public servant,
                   works with, or provides services personally to, children and young
                   people or families;

         m)        the public advocate;

         n)        the official visitor;

         o)        a person who, in the course of the person’s employments, has contact
                   with or provides services to children, young people and their families
                   and is prescribed by regulation.




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                                      References
“Reporting Child abuse: Keeping Children and Young People Safe” – A shared
community responsibility” (October 2008) prepared by the Office for Children, Youth
and Family Support.

Children and Young People Act 2008, http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/




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